COMMENTARY | When the New York Yankees got a double and a bunt single to lead off the top of the eighth inning Monday, July 1, when trailing by a single run, undoubtedly every Minnesota Twins fan was thinking, "Here we go again." However, it is doubtful that very many Twins were thinking this.
This is because so few of them have experienced what happens when these two teams have gotten together over the last decade. The Twins have had so much turnover, that the only one in the starting lineup on Monday that had ever lost a playoff game to the Yankees in a Twins uniform was Justin Morneau, and that was way back in 2004.
Joe Mauer is the only other current position player to face the Yankees in the playoffs. He had the day off Monday. The only current Twins pitcher to face the Yankees in the playoffs is Brian Duensing.
Only Three Minnesota Twins Have Faced the New York Yankees in the Playoffs
Most of the players have only experienced going 3-4 against the Yankees in 2012. Considering the Twins lost 66-96 for the season, they played better against the Yankees than they did everyone else.
So this Twins team doesn't truly understand what the fans have gone through over the last 11 1/2 seasons as the Twins have gone 21-55 against the Yankees and 947-839 against everyone else. And that doesn't include going 2-12 in the playoffs, including losing the last nine.
The playoff losses are what make this matchup so painful for fans. If the Twins had won or two of those four series, then the Yankees' dominance in the regular season would just be an interesting stat with no real importance, especially since the teams play in different divisions and rarely play more than eight games in a season.
Instead, when an umpire makes a bad call at first base, especially as bad of a call that was made Monday night, it just reminds fans of Phil Cuzzi's incorrect call of a foul ball in an extra-inning playoff game in 2009. The current players don't understand that every borderline pitch that goes the Yankees' way is a punch to the gut to Twins fans for all the borderline pitches that Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera seem to have gotten against the Twins over the years.
Or how tired fans are of hearing how Pettitte hasn't lost to the Twins since 2001 even though he gave up four runs in five innings to a lineup that was missing its best hitter and its best right-handed power hitter.
Few Minnesota Twins Understand Fans' Frustration in Losing to New York Yankees
To the players, it was just another frustrating loss while the Twins try to dig themselves out of a hole created by a 10-game losing streak in May. As much as fans want to make this about some kind of brain lock by Twins players when they see Yankee uniforms, this loss was just about bad relief pitching and bad defense.
Even most of the current Yankees haven't experienced this dominance over the Twins. The only players in the starting lineup Monday that had experienced a playoff victory over the Twins were Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner.
Then again, maybe that experience is what helped Cano to get two home runs and a double for the Yankees. Or maybe it was just that Cano is one of the best hitters in the game.
The pitchers do have more experience with success against the Twins. Pettitte, of course, has pretty much dominated the Twins, which shouldn't be surprising considering how heavily left-handed the Twins' lineup has been over the last 11 1/2 seasons. The same can be said for C.C. Sabathia.
Rivera and David Robertson have also dominated the Twins, but those two pretty much dominate everybody.
The Twins will play the Yankees six more times over the next two weeks to finish the season series. If Monday was any indication, it looks like the Twins will have plenty of opportunities to experience what it's like to be dominated by the Yankees.
If the success of the prospects in the Twins' minor league system is any indication, hopefully the Twins can start getting some paybacks in a year or two.
Darin McGilvra has been a professional sportswriter since 1997 and has been a Twins follower since Kirby Puckett's breakout season of 1986. He has been published in The Californian, a newspaper covering Riverside County, and numerous other websites.
Follow Darin on Twitter at @SoCalTwinsfan.
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